Last Week Predictions: 9-5
Season Totals: 9-5
Green Bay Packers (1-2) at Chicago Bears (2-1):
For the second game this season, the Packers’ offense has underachieved, which has led them to an under 500 record. The main problem on offense is the Packers’ inability to run the ball and the lack of depth on the outside. Last season, Lacy was one of the best young backs in the league, but this season he has not reached 45 yards in a game. Besides for Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, Aaron Rodgers does not have faith in any other tight end or receiver. While the Packers’ offense has sputtered to start the season, the Bears possess one of the most feared offenses in the league. Although Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall have dealt with injuries, the combination of the duo and Martellus Bennett make it too difficult for opposing teams to defend. Similar to Lacy, Forte has not had a great season. Although the Packers have struggled lately, Aaron Rodgers is feeling pressure from the fans and he has played well against the Bears in the past.
Packers win 27-24
Buffalo Bills (2-1) at Houston Texans (2-1):
After starting the season 2-0, both teams played horribly in week three and lost their first game of the season. Although the Bills started well on offense during the first two weeks, they could not reproduce the same explosiveness at home against the Chargers. The Bills two most dynamic players, Sammy Watkins and CJ Spiller, were held to a total of 44 yards. The Bills’ defense has been impressive during the first three weeks of the season and should continue this weekend. During the Texans’ contest against the Giants, fans were able to notice the importance of Arian Foster to the Texans’ offense. The Texans have been an interesting team because they have been accumulated less yards than their opponents, but have won 2 of their last 3 games. Without Foster’s home run ability, the Giants were able to double team star wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson. If Foster can play effectively through his tight hamstring, the offense should be able to score enough points at home to win the game.
Texans win 20-17
Tennessee Titans (1-2) at Indianapolis Colts (1-2):
After an impressive week one, the Titans have been dominated the last two weeks and many are questioning Jake Locker as the starter. Locker has averaged only 210 yards and more interceptions than touchdowns this season. Although the Locker has underperformed, he has no talent on offense. Along with the poor offense, the defense has allowed 29.5 points per game over the last two games. Unfortunately, they will run into another high scoring offense this weekend in Indy. After losing two heartbreakers, the Colts took out their anger on the Jags and won 44-17. Although this game should be closer, Luck will throw for 350 yards and 2 touchdowns for the third straight week. Along with Luck, the duo of Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw has taken some of the pressure off of Luck on offense.
Colts win 34-10
Carolina Panthers (2-1) at Baltimore Ravens (2-1):
After two weeks of great play, the Panthers were trounced by Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and the Steelers on Sunday Night Football. Neither the offense nor the defense were very formidable. Unfortunately, the Panthers will take a hit on offense without the services of Jonathan Stewart or Mike Tolbert. If the Panthers are unable to run the football, they will be unable to score because they do not have great weapons on the outside. Along with their underachieving offense, the defense has not been as ferocious and aggressive this year. The Ravens will be hoping to take advantage of the Panthers at home. Although they have been without running back Ray Rice, Joe Flacco has been very efficient over the past two games and led the Ravens to 2 wins. Along with their improved offense, the Ravens’ defense has averaged only 13.5 points over their past two games against division rivals. Flacco will look to abuse the Panthers’ porous secondary with Owen Daniels, Torrey Smith, and Steve Smith.
Ravens win 24-17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1):
The Bucs have been by far the worst team in the NFL, which has surprised many experts and fans. The Bucs have faced numerous injuries to key positions, including quarterback, Josh McCown, and defensive tackle, Gerald McCoy. The Bucs were absolutely destroyed last Thursday night and Lovie Smith will ensure that his team brings enthusiasm on the road this weekend. The Bucs will hope that Mike Glennon and Vincent Jackson can rekindle the connection they made last season. The duo of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown has led the Steelers’ offense. After losing a few pounds this offseason, Bell has a new found quickness and explosiveness, which allows him to reach the second level and past linebackers. Also, Brown and Roethlisberger have developed one of the best relationships in the league. While the Steel City’s offense has been solid, the defense has many questions after the loss of three starters during the game last week. Eventually, the lack of depth on the Steelers’ defense will cause them to become exposed, but not against this horrible offensive attack.
Steelers win 27-13
Miami Dolphins (1-2) at Oakland Raiders (0-3):
Similar to the Bucs, the Raiders have been bad, but mildly competitive. Besides for the contest against the Texans, the Raiders’ defense has been very reliable and nearly led them to two wins over the Jets and Patriots. However, the offense is undergoing a rebuild with Derek Carr at the head of the offense. Although Carr has not been horrible, 3 interceptions, he is not going to lead the Raiders to many wins this season. Unfortunately, Derek Carr’s weapons James Jones and Darren McFadden are not very formidable players to opposing defenses. Although the Miami Dolphins are in year three of their latest rebuilding project, they still have major questions at the quarterback position. This week, Coach Philibin was not committed to Ryan Tannehill as their quarterback. After a great week 1, the Dolphins’ offense has averaged only 12.5 points per game against the Bills and Chiefs. Along with a poor passing attack, the running game is non-existent like last season. Coach Philibin may have been noncommittal to Tannehill because he wants to inspire the young quarterback. Unfortunately, Tannehill took the message the wrong way, which has led to a distraction. The Raiders will not have many other winnable games after this matchup against the Dolphins.
Raiders win 17-13
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) at San Diego Chargers (2-1):
The Jaguars have looked very bad over the first three weeks, but this week should shed a beam of light on season as Blake Bortles will be starting his first game at quarterback. During the preseason and the end of last week’s game against the Colts, Bortles has shown the ability to be a very good quarterback. Although Bortles does not have many weapons, he is a big and athletic player that can run and pass. Although the defense was supposed to be improved with the addition of Gus Bradley, they have been dreadful. The Chargers and Philip Rivers will look to take advantage this weekend. Over the past two weeks, the Chargers have looked like the best team in football with wins over the Seahawks and on the road against the previously undefeated Bills. This season, Rivers has carried over his great play from the previous year and maintained his status as one of the best quarterbacks in the league and a possible MVP candidate. Although the Jags will be pumped with Bortles’ start, the Chargers will dominate the game.
Chargers win 31-17
Atlanta Falcons (2-1) at Minnesota Vikings (1-2):
Similar to the Jags, the Vikings will be starting their first round pick Teddy Bridgewater for the first time in his young career. Similar to Bortles, Bridgewater played well during the preseason and as a sub last week. Although Bridgewater does not have the same raw talent as Bortles, he is a refined quarterback and has solid weapons like Corderrelle Patterson. Although the Vikes have no running game to rely on after the loss of Adrian Peterson, Bridgewater should bring happiness to a team that has been full of controversy. However, like the Jaguars, they will be playing a hot and veteran quarterback in Matt Ryan. Although Ryan and the Falcons were horrible last season, the return of Julio Jones and Harry Douglass has given the offense more explosiveness. Although the Falcons are not the same team on the road, the Vikes will not have the necessary players to stop the dynamic and talented Falcons.
Falcons win 31-10
Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) at San Francisco 49ers (1-2):
The Eagles and the 49ers have been polar opposites during the first three games of the year. While the 49ers have been solid during the first three quarters, they have yet to score in the fourth, which has led to their two losses. However, the Eagles are one of the best second half teams in the league. The Eagles possess one of the best offenses in the league because they can run the ball, throw the ball, and have great endurance. Although McCoy has not experienced the same success as last season, he strikes fear into opposing defenses, which assists Nick Foles in the passing game. Although Foles has thrown as many interceptions as all of last year, he has thrown for 300 yards in every game and has accumulated 6 touchdowns. While the Eagles’ offense has flourished, the 49ers’ offense has been extremely streaky. Colin Kaepernick has not lived up to his new deal and the running game has been non-existent. Along with the poor offense, their once devastating defense has been lessened to an average unit with many of their stars crippled by injuries. The Eagles may be traveling across the country and the 49ers will be desperate for a win, but they have too much momentum and skill. Ultimately, the game will be close, but their world class conditioning will be too much for the 49ers.
Eagles win 27-23
New Orleans Saints (1-2) at Dallas Cowboys (2-1):
After spending the first two weeks on the road, the Saints finally arrived home and showed why they have one of the best home field advantages against the Vikings. Although Brees did not have a great game, he threw for two touchdowns passes and did not throw an interception. During their first game without Mark Ingram, the Saints did not possess the same explosiveness on the ground. Robinson and Thomas were held to only 3.8 yards per carry and their longest scamper of the day was only 13 yards. Against stingy defenses, this unilateral attack may lead to their demise, but not against the Dallas Cowboys. Before the season, the Cowboys were predicted to own the worst defense in the league and they have not disappointed thus far. Although the Cowboys have allowed lots of yardage and points, they possess one of the most dynamic and highest scoring offenses in the league. Unlike previous seasons, the Cowboys possess a great running back, which they have relied on during the first few games of the year. It is destined to be a high scoring contest, but the Saints will ultimately come out on top.
Saints win 34-31
New England Patriots (2-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-2):
The Patriots may have a record above 500, but they do not look like the team that many predicted to advance to the AFC Championship Game and maybe the Super Bowl. The Patriots have not met expectations because Tom Brady has not been even an average quarterback. Although he has yet to throw an interception, he has averaged only 200 yards per game and a touchdown. Outside of the Vikings’ game, when the defense led the Patriots to 30 points, the Patriots have averaged only 18 points against the Raiders and Dolphins. On the positive side, the Patriots defense has been exceptional and allowed only 8 points per game. Similar to the Patriots, the Chiefs have not met expectations and have not shown the same physicality as last season. The absence of Jamaal Charles has been a major problem for the Chiefs, but Kniles Davis has been impressive in relief. Last week, Alex Smith looked very good on offense and passed for three touchdowns. Ultimately, the Patriots with their strong defense and secondary will win a close low scoring game at Arrowhead Stadium.
Patriots win 23-17
Pics and Stats from ESPN.com